style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words: good diction.
the accent, inflection, intonation, and speech-sound quality manifested by an individual speaker, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of acceptability; enunciation.

Origin of diction

1400–50; late Middle English diccion < Late Latin dictiōn- (stem of dictiō) word, Latin: rhetorical delivery, equivalent to dict(us) said, spoken (past participle of dīcere) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsdic·tion·al, adjectivedic·tion·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for diction

Synonym study

1. Diction, phraseology, wording refer to the means and the manner of expressing ideas. Diction usually implies a high level of usage; it refers chiefly to the choice of words, their arrangement, and the force, accuracy, and distinction with which they are used: The speaker was distinguished for his excellent diction; poetic diction. Phraseology refers more to the manner of combining the words into related groups, and especially to the peculiar or distinctive manner in which certain technical, scientific, and professional ideas are expressed: legal phraseology. Wording refers to the exact words or phraseology used to convey thought: the wording of a will.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diction

Contemporary Examples of diction

Historical Examples of diction

  • There was no "mine" or "thine" in the diction of the Wright brothers; only "we" and "ours."

    The Age of Invention

    Holland Thompson

  • It is needless to expatiate on its poetic merit or felicity of diction.

    My Reminiscences

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • These ten lines are a fair specimen of the diction of the entire volume.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • The churches are now teaching that religion is action, not diction.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • My style is too finished, you understand, my diction too perfect.


    Alice Hegan Rice

British Dictionary definitions for diction



the choice and use of words in writing or speech
the manner of uttering or enunciating words and sounds; elocution

Word Origin for diction

C15: from Latin dictiō a saying, mode of expression, from dīcere to speak, say
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for diction

1540s, "a word;" 1580s, "expression of ideas in words," from Late Latin dictionem (nominative dictio) "a saying, expression, word," noun of action from dic-, past participle stem of Latin dicere "speak, tell, say" (source of French dire "to say"), related to dicare "proclaim, dedicate," from PIE root *deik- "to point out" (cf. Sanskrit dic- "point out, show," Greek deiknynai "to prove," Latin digitus "finger," Old High German zeigon, German zeigen "to show," Old English teon "to accuse," tæcan "to teach").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for diction


The choice of words. Diction is effective when words are appropriate to an audience. A man might refer to his car as his “wheels” in casual conversation with a friend, but if he were writing an essay for a group of economists, he would write, “People base their decision to buy an automobile on the following considerations,” not “People base their decision to buy wheels on the following considerations.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.